Anxiety is something many of us experience, especially when we’re in pain or faced with things in our world that seem beyond our control. Sometimes, even when things are going well we can wake up with that familiar pit in our stomach and the desire to stay curled up under the covers, hiding from the world.
When this happens, it reinforces our belief that something is very wrong. We think the anxiety “means” something. And, we’re partly right. It does.
But it doesn’t mean what we think it does. It’s not saying, “You’re doomed. You’re doing it wrong. You’re going to end up alone and in pain, or worse.”
Usually it’s saying ”Hey – pay attention – I’ve got some important information for you.”
Unfortunately we don’t hear this guidance because we’re too busy running away from it – hiding under the covers, binge eating, obsessing over our symptoms or world events, watching tv and social media, or spinning in our minds in endless cycles of worry.
All to avoid feeling what’s happening in our bodies.
And the thing is, what’s happening in our bodies IS the GUIDANCE we really need – of the most brilliant kind – specifically tailored to us and to the situation, trying to give us the information we need to get from where we are to where we want to go.
If you are experiencing anxiety, instead of running…start listening. Your emotional guidance system is working and ready to help you.
Here’s what you can do…..
First, get into your body!
Our inclination is to run from uncomfortable sensations, and that makes sense. But instead of running or suppressing, you want to allow the uncomfortable sensations and be present with them. To counteract your automatic instinct to run or hide or get out of your body, start by consciously choosing to bring your attention into your body. All your power is in your body. This is no time to run away from that.
Take some nice gentle breaths into your low belly.
What sensations do you notice? Name them. Use descriptive adjectives……contracted, nauseous, achy, sinking, tingly, heavy,, etc. See if you can stay present with the sensations in your body without judging them or running away from them. Nothing you notice is good or bad. Keep breathing and stay curious. Dig a little. If you first notice pain or other symptoms, welcome them and then move on and see what else you notice – tension, heaviness, etc. See what these sensations do. Do they move or stay still? Get stronger or softer? Be a detective. Notice that you can be present with the sensations in your body, and that right now you are ok.
Keep breathing. Nice gentle low belly breaths.
Notice Your Mind
Here’s a big one. When we’re feeling anxiety, our mind is always involved. It may be off in the future making up scary scenarios, or in the past beating ourselves or someone else up. What are your stories? Recognize that often these stories are keeping you stuck in your mind and serve the purpose of protecting you from feeling emotions and other sensations in your body. Imagine popping these stories in a bubble outside your head. You can have them back later. Right now, your goal is to feel and and be present with the sensations in your body.
And did I mention to breathe? Nice gentle low belly breaths.
Fill Yourself Up with Love
Imagine that there is a valve in your heart that you can open, and that when you do, a beautiful warm golden light begins to pour into your heart through the valve. As it fills your heart and then your chest, and then the rest of your body – this pure positive LOVE energy brings every cell it touches exactly what it needs – exactly what you need. And once it fills every cell in your body, it overflows into the area surrounding you. Feel yourself inside this bubble – safe and protected by this light.
And breathe, nice gentle low belly breaths.
Now that you’ve connected to your body, set aside the thoughts, and filled yourself up with love, you can ask your body and soul for guidance. Ask if they have a message for you? If there is anything you need to know right now? And then listen. Every moment of every day you have all of the wisdom and guidance you need right inside of you – and your anxiety is an indication that it’s there. That there’s something you need to pay attention to – and it’s not those scary thoughts in your mind!
It may take some practice to hear, but it’s time to stop running from from your own body and anxiety, and your power to create what you want in your life. Be curious. Be present, and you will be amazed at how much wisdom and power you have inside of you.
With Love, Magic, and Possibility,